Neglected Jehlum could show a more furious face


Experts Advise urgent dredging, de-silting; removal of encroachments from embankments

Srinagar:  A day after single day’s shower created flood threat in Kashmir Valley, Earth Science experts and Environmentalist Friday said that Government as well as people talk about dredging, de-silting and removal of encroachments along river banks and flood channels whenever flood threat looms high, but once the threat subsides, everyone forgets about it. They urged upon the people to take lead themselves and force the government to dismantle all the illegal encroachments done both by white and blue color people.

Head of Department Earth Sciences, Kashmir University Professor Shakil Ahmed Ramshoo believes that Jehlum needs dredging and de-silting badly and if this is not done, then people of Kashmir are bound to face the wrath of the nature even if it rains for a single day only. “Both the Jehlum and the flood channels have lost the carrying capacity due to extensive siltation, encroachments and pollution. The carrying capacity of our flood channels have come down from 17,000 to 5000 cusecs waters and same is the case with the River Jehlum. No proper de-silting and dredging has taken place from past many years,” he said.

Romshoo said that all the flood channels and the River Jehlum needs thorough de-siltation and dredging from Sangam to Khandanyar. This process will increase the carrying capacity of the river and channels. Government must pass a ‘Flood Plains Act’ banning horizontal expansion of settlements and encroachments on the water courses, reclamation of low-lying floodplain areas for agriculture, siltation of rivers, construction of roads along the river banks and construction in the flood plains. Besides, the embankments of Jehlum should be conserved, beautified and made robust to check any kind of breech and water leakage in future,” he said.

Environmentalist Dr Abdul Majid Kak believes that the loss of wet lands of Kashmir valley has aggravated the present situation of flood threat. “All the wetlands of Kashmir Valley have been encroached. There is no action from the government. It is so because the men who are at the helm of affairs either encourage this encroachment or are themselves the party of such illegal encroachments,” he said.

Kak said that 50 per cent wet lands at Mirgund Hokarsar have been encroached by people with the consent of bureaucrats and politicians. “The successive governments have miserably failed to preserve the wetlands like Wullar, Anchar, Dal , Nagin , Mansabal and other wetlands. These wetlands used to act as sponge and retained excessive waters. Flood threat will loom every time we receive excessive rains from March to September,” he said adding that the ecosystems of wetlands of Kashmir valley are under tremendous anthropomorphic pressure since more than four decades. (CNS)

Jehlum Waters Recede, People Heave Sigh Of Relief

SRINAGAR: The residents of Kashmir valley on Friday heaved a sigh of relief as the water level in the Jehlum river began receding following improvement in the weather.

“Though the flood concerns have now been eased, the Jehlum continues to flow above the danger mark in the south and central parts of the valley,” Irrigation and Flood Control Department Chief Engineer Javed Jaffar said.

The water level in the Jehlum and its tributaries rose sharply following heavy rainfall on Wednesday, which had prompted authorities to issue a flood alert for south and central Kashmir.

“The water level at Sangam in south Kashmir has receded to 23.80ft (60.45 m) at 11.00 a.m. as against the level of 27.50ft on Thursday. The danger mark at Sangam is 23ft,” Jaffar said.

Its status red turned into orange at 2 PM on Friday when its water level was recorded at 22.95 feet. At 7 in the evening the water level at Sangam was recorded at 21.30 feet.

At Ram Munshi Bagh in the city, the Jehlum was flowing at 21.20ft against the peak of 21.65ft in the wee hours of Friday, he added.

The water level at 7 PM here was recorded at 20.55 feet.

Several areas in Anantnag district, including Nai Basti, Takia Behrampora, Shamsipora and Hassanpora, were inundated by the overflowing Jehlum and its tributaries.

Several areas of Kulgam district, including Qaimoh, Mir Bazar, Asthal and Devsar, were affected by the swollen waters of the Vaishnav stream.

The water level in the downstream at Asham in the north Kashmir district of Bandipore started to decrease during evening hours Friday. At 12 noon the water level at Asham was recorded at 14.50 feet and it remained static till 5 in the evening. After Five, the level started to recede and at 7 in the evening the water level at Ashma was recorded at 14.41 with status as Orange, district officials said.

Met department has predicted that weather will be mainly dry during the next one week in the valley.

A close watch is being maintained on the water level by the engineers and officials of I&FC at different places. Sand bags, besides men and machinery have been kept ready to meet any eventuality in case of breach in the river bund.

Meanwhile, a number of bridges and road diversions were washed away in Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag districts, where about 50 houses also suffered damages due to flood.  

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